Eternal river… For ever changing…

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

Ancient Egyptians considered the Nile river to be the source of all life. The steady northward path of the river has nourished the fertile valleys of northeast Africa for millions of years and in doing so, shaped the course of human civilization.

The Nile’s unchanging path, however, has been a geologic mystery because long-lived rivers usually move over time. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have cracked the case by linking the river’s flow to the movement of rock in the Earth’s deep mantle. In the course of their investigation, they found the eternal river to be much older than anyone realized, with the scientists estimating the age of the Nile to be 30 million years — about six times as long as previously thought. (1)

Behold the eternal river.

Behold the temporary life.

Heraclitus was right.

You can never step into it twice.

But not because the river is changing.

But because you are…

Get into that river.

And see yourself.

Floating away…

Away from the river.

To a shore where there is nothing but a tree.

Walk to that tree.

But eat not from its fruits.

Can you hear a river nearby?

Chairs into tables…

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

Turning a chair into a table, or vice versa, might sound like somewhat of a magic trick. In this case, zero magic is involved, just plenty of complex geometry and machine learning.

Called LOGAN, the deep neural network, i.e., a machine of sorts, can learn to transform the shapes of two different objects, for example, a chair and a table, in a natural way, without seeing any paired transforms between the shapes. All the machine had seen was a bunch of tables and a bunch of chairs, and it could automatically translate shapes between the two unpaired domains. LOGAN can also automatically perform both content and style transfers between two different types of shapes without any changes to its network architecture. (1)

Chair… Table… Human… Cosmos…

Look at any shape.

Imagine any shape.

There are ways to go from one to the other. But there is nothing natural about it. All changes are abrupt. Raw. Untamed. Whenever something becomes something else, the first one dies. Completely and utterly. There is no gradual change. No “natural” way of dying. No “natural” way of changing. This is the secret we have chosen to ignore. And we keep on believing in the ability to change. This is the essence of our civilization. The cornerstone of our existence. That we can “change”. That things “change”.

Imagine a cosmos where everything is stable.

A perfect cosmos.

We hate this cosmos. For it nullifies existence.

Free beings we are.

And if we choose, we can choose to be!

And die…

So have we done.

So shall it be…

Eternal vortices. Ephemeral cosmos.

Photo by Spyros Kakos

In 1949, famous physicist Lars Onsager published a paper discussing the potential implications of superfluids and turbulence.

Now, 70 years later, a team of Australian researchers has conducted an experiment to back his theory – using a tiny quantum version of Jupiter’s ‘Great Red Spot’ to do it. Unlike the Great Red Spot, for this experiment, the researchers went small: microscopically small.

They used superfluid cooled down to just above absolute zero, and held it in place using digital micro mirror devices and lasers, before creating a vortex just 100 micrometres across. TheThe team then generated two vortex clusters and spun them in opposite directions, which demonstrates the stability of the configuration. (1)

Ephemeral change.

Eternal vortices.

In a cosmos constantly stable…

In a cosmos momentarily changing…

The vortices will die at the end.

And the universe will stay silent.

Whispering…

Ephemeral vortices.

Eternal change…

Liquid and Solid…

Photo by Jan Kroon from Pexels

Scientists have discovered a new state of physical matter in which atoms can exist as both solid and liquid simultaneously.

Applying high pressures and temperatures to potassium — a simple metal – creates a state in which most of the element’s atoms form a solid lattice structure, the findings show. However, the structure also contains a second set of potassium atoms that are in a fluid arrangement.

Under the right conditions, over half a dozen elements – including sodium and bismuth – are thought to be capable of existing in the newly discovered state, researchers say. (1)

Seeking flexibility.

In a cosmos which is always in motion.

In a cosmos where all is what it is.

And at the very next moment it is not.

Flexible.

Molded by thought.

Forged in existence.

Iced water.

Melted steel.

There is nothing liquid.

There is nothing solid.

Is there anything more flexible?

Could there by anything more rigid?

Rigid steel.

Hot water.

A world constantly changing.

Only because it cannot…

Rivers changing. Humans watching…

Photo by Nick Bondarev from Pexels

Left to their own devices and given enough time, rivers wander, eroding their banks and leaving their old channels behind. It’s a behavior that engineers have to keep in mind when managing rivers or planning projects near them. But new research from The University of Texas at Austin has revealed that old methods for estimating migration rates may be overthinking it.

The research was led by the UT Jackson School of Geosciences Bureau of Economic Geology and found that the rate of river migration is directly linked to how sharp its bends are — a finding that challenges the prevailing wisdom on how river curvature and migration relate and shows that the relationship is not as complicated as previously thought, said Zoltán Sylvester, a research scientist at the bureau who led the study.

“When we look at the rivers we have studied, the sharper the bend, the tighter the bend, the faster it moves,” he said. “It’s a simple relationship.” (1)

Rivers change all the time.

Inspiring people.

People change all the time as well.

Watching rivers flow.

We wish to understand how they change.

In relation to what?

We wish to understand how we change.

In relation to what?

We wish to know how the cosmos changes.

Does it?

We wish to grasp change…

As if something is stable and unchanged…

We wish to know how the cosmos moves.

As if something is immovable and stationary.

Heraclitus said you can’t walk into the same river twice.

But no one noticed that in order to claim such a wise thing.

He should be able to speak about that (same) river…

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